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Drilling under way for geothermal expansion project on Azores Islands, Portugal

Drilling rig on project site, Azores Islands, Nov. 2020 (source: Iceland Drilling)
Alexander Richter 12 Nov 2020

Drilling contractor Iceland Drilling reports having successfully started drilling for client EDA Renováveis on the Azores Islands/ Portugal. The drilling contract foresees up to 8 wells for expansion of existing geothermal plants on two islands with a maximum expansion of combined 12.5 MW.

Iceland Drilling Company have successfully mobilized their drilling rig which is Drillmec HH-220 from the Island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean to the Azores Islands. Following land transport and rig up procedures, then geothermal drilling operations have started. The geothermal area is in Ribeira Grande on the island of Sao Miguel.

The project involves the drilling of three to six geothermal wells in Ribeira Grande up to a depth of 1500 meters. Once finalized the drilling rig will be mobilized to the nearby island of Terceira for additional drilling of two to three wells at Pico Alto geothermal field. The purpose of the drilling is to increase the electric generation capacity at existing power plants.

Sigurdur Sigurdsson, the CEO of IDC, underscored that this drilling project marks the 5th geothermal drilling project operated by Iceland Drilling Company on the islands of the Azores. “We are very glad to have contributed toward activation of geothermal power generation in the Azores. We are islander just like Azores and realize the importance of utilizing domestic clean energy source for energy security. We look forward to the good cooperation and to continue to create value for our client in Azores.”

According to Carlos Bicudo, Board Member of EDA Renováveis: “The exploitation of geothermal resources in the Azores guarantees 25% of all electricity generation on the islands. The contribution of geothermal is even higher in each power generation system, reaching up to 44% in São Miguel island and 12% in the Terceira island. With about four decades of exploitation in the Azores, geothermal has proven to be a cost-effective option, providing reliable and sustainable power, and reducing the carbon footprint of power generation.

We are planning to increase the geothermal capacity in São Miguel and Terceira Island, passing from the current 23 to 28 MW and from 3.5 to 10 MW, respectively. The ongoing drilling campaign corresponds to first phase of this ambitious investment plan. We are very glad to have the cooperation of Iceland Drilling Company for this project as drilling contractor, who already drilled most of our wells, and we look forward to working together once again.”

Iceland Drilling Company – Iceland Drilling Company Ltd (IDC) is a leading company in the field of deep geothermal drilling with decades of experience in both high and low temperature drilling. The company operates internationally with well-grounded expertise in drilling and a track record of drilling several hundred geothermal wells. Iceland Drilling can provide integrated drilling service for all onshore geothermal projects, as well as drilling in other sectors.

The company’s operations in recent years have been in the Azores (Portugal), Djibouti, Denmark, Germany, Nicaragua, Philippines, Caribbean, (Dominica, St Vincent and in Montserrat) Switzerland and in New Zealand. Currently the company is working in Iceland, Djibouti and Azores.

EDA Renováveis, S. A. – EDA RENOVAVEIS is an independent power producer that exploits the renewable resources of the Azores Archipelago. The company operates 21 power plants with a total installed capacity of 64 MW and covering seven of the nine islands of the Azores, including three geothermal power plants (26,5 MW), twelve hydropower plants (8,4 MW), and seven wind parks (28,6 MW).

All the Azores islands are volcanic in origin, and most still have dormant volcanoes. In two of these volcanic areas, EDA RENOVÁVEIS owns the concessions to exploit the Pico Alto and Ribeira Grande high-temperature fields, in Terceira and São Miguel Island, respectively. In Ribeira Grande, the company operates the power plants of Pico Vermelho (10 MW) and Ribeira Grande (13 MW), and in Pico Alto operates the Pico Alto power plant (3,5 MW). Geothermal is strategic for the energy self-sufficiency of the Azores Archipelago, and there are on-going plans to expand geothermal production. By 2025 it is expected that geothermal contribution to the power generation structure of the Azores increases from the current 25 to 40%.

Source: Company release by email